Welcome to Axalta’s second sustainability report. In the two years since we published our inaugural report on sustainability progress, our company has matured and grown. We are now a publicly traded company and have invested significantly to expand production capacity and research capabilities. We’ve brought new people into the organization to provide the talent and skills that we will need to sustain our growth. While we have continued to transform, we have remained focused on delivering value to our stakeholders by providing quality products to our customers, fulfilling careers to our employees, investments in our communities, and strong returns to our shareholders.
Our report highlights the many ways in which Axalta products help our customers meet their sustainability goals. Our Harmonized Coating TechnologiesTM are designed to help vehicle manufacturers accelerate production time and reduce energy use. New clear coats for refinish customers can cure more quickly and at lower temperatures. The latest Imron® coatings for commercial vehicle manufacturers can help reduce cycle time and save energy. New Alesta® powder coatings for building cladding are designed to save energy by reducing interior heat build-up while making substrates last longer. AquaECTM electrocoats are available in tin-free formulations and waterborne VoltahydeTM impregnating resins help reduce VOC emissions that can deplete ozone. These and other products are showcased throughout the report.
We have reinforced our culture of technology and innovation in order to fulfill our commitment to our customers and meet their expectations for next-generation products and services that will sustain their businesses. We are building a new Global Innovation Center in Philadelphia that will be the hub of our global research and development program supported by three regional technology centers and more than 30 technical laboratories. We also continue to engage with our customers at 46 learning and development centers on five continents, offering them the latest insights into how to optimize the use of our products and enhance their technical skills.
Not only are we working every day to improve our products and optimize application systems for customers, but we are also finding efficiencies within our own operations. Since 2013, we’ve reduced our energy intensity in our manufacturing facilities by 6 percent and water intensity by 4 percent. One project in Europe has enabled us to double our shipping capacity for refinish products by using double-decker trucks, reducing our carbon footprint by 600 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Foremost in our operations is a commitment to safety, and we are proud of the safety culture that has been instilled globally.
We’ve made considerable progress in creating a company culture that is guided by The Axalta Way, our approach to achieving operating excellence every day. The 12,800 talented men and women of Axalta around the world make our company successful. We are committed to providing them training and development opportunities, and in 2015 we introduced a leadership development program with that goal in mind. We’ve established a robust summer internship program that offers college students in the United States the opportunity to work on key projects with business impact. We are delighted that 92 percent of eligible interns in 2015 accepted full-time positions with the company
We continue to make investments in the communities where we operate, focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and sustainability programs. In 2015, we inaugurated multi-year programs to support wetland conservation in North America and to support environmental conservation and reforestation in China. In the home of our corporate headquarters in Philadelphia, we launched a long-term program to recognize high school teachers who use STEM in their curricula.
I invite you to explore our report to learn more about what sustainability means to us, the progress we have made and the accomplishments we have achieved since our first report, and the opportunities we have to continue to grow.
Charles W. Shaver
Chairman and CEO